Nigerian doctor narrates how he saved a dying passenger midair

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It’s getting clearer now, …why I was born.

Dr James King

I just saved a life who would have possibly died midair in the aircraft I was a passenger in.

I was on seat 14F of BOEING 737-300 of AZMAN AIR from Kano to Lagos.

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Suddenly, his head dropped.

A passenger on seat to my far left on the other side of the aisle.

The Indian man sitting besides him screamed and called the attention of the air officials.

The Indian said it seems the man passed out.

We were still several miles above sea level.

Far from Lagos our destination.

As it is with my nature, I was listening to some music with my earpiece on board this flight. I was rocking myself head forward and backward, my hands slightly moving up to the powerful music of SHOW US MERCY by Will Adiks.

The movements to the unconscious passenger got my attention.

I removed my earpiece.

In 5 powerful long strides I got to the dying patient.


To the Air Hostesses, “I am Dr James King. I want to take over. He is deteriorating fast.”

The Air Hostess said, “Ok sir. Go ahead.”

And she gave way.

I quickly checked his radial pulse. It was very small volume, irregularly irregular.

I shouted, “Any doctor, nurse or paramedic here?”

No response.

All the other passengers on board were staring at me with a forlorn look.

As if there was an impending danger to all of them.

I turned to the immaculately dressed 3 Air Hostess around me. “We can save this life together. His life depends on us now.”

I turned to one of the hostesses, “Can you please get us all the medical boxes or kits in this aircraft”

She responded, “Ok sir” and walked fast away.

Dr James King

I asked two other male passengers to help me lift the dying man from his seat to the aisle between the aircraft seats, …so I can have more space to start my intervention on him.

We placed him on the ground.

Flat on a supine position and also freed his respiratory airways by tilting his head backwards a bit.

I again asked, “please can I have any cloth or anything to support his neck.”

The air hostesses removed their top suits clothing and handed them to me. Obviously well trained. Thank you AZMAN Air.

I was surprised at such empathy by the Air Hostesses.

I was truly encouraged and energised.

I folded two of them and placed them under the neck of the dying man.

At this point the dying man was already having rolling up eyes, …all white.

I checked his pulse again.


I listened to his apex heart beat.

It was very weak and faint. Almost absent.

I knew in seconds, he would be dead if I don’t do something fast.

I commenced CPR (Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) on him.

Oxygen via Ambu bagging.

He responded.

I asked the pilot should bring down the temperature of the aircraft.

After sometime, he began to convulse.

At the top of my voice, I shouted “Can someone get me Diazepam please?”

An air hostess ran somewhere to get it.

It was minutes before landing.

If nothing was done fast he will die in less than 10mimutes.

I repeated CPR again.

And again….

I listened to the heart using my stethoscope.

Some mild activity commenced.

I turned to the chief air Hostess, please call Murtala Mohammed Airport and tell then to arrange for an Ambulance before our landing.”

She said, “Right away” and began to rush toward the cockpit to inform the Pilot to do so.

When I was sure the patient’s ventilation improved and was concious, I quickly withdraw low dose Diazepam and gave him intramuscularly on his buttocks to abort his uncontrollable seizures.

Returned him to the supine position again.

Checked his pulse again. It was small volume and irregularly irregular.

At this point, I knew all I could do was to buy time till we land.

I then announced to everyone that… “I am buying time. He will survive.”

I was on the floor of the aircraft kneeling around him.

Monitoring every single thing I can pick from his reflexes.

The chief air hostess came back.

I asked her, “How many minutes do we have more to land?”

She said, “in 5 minutes.”

The convulsions stopped.

I again checked his vital signs.

I again announced to everyone on board, “He will survive.”

Then there was a loud sudden noise in the aircraft.

Then we landed on the runway.

Three men/passengers carried him.

We evacuated him very fast out of the plane.

At the foot of the plane there was no ambulance waiting.

I was visibly angry and now shouting at the top of my voice to all the airport officials.

That the ambulance is at the other side.

In a rage I said to them, “This is wickedness. We did all our best with God’s help to keep this man alive for 30 minutes and you people could not even get an Ambulance to wait here?”

Someone suggested that he should be taken in one of the Toyota Hilux van.

I said “No, it will kill him before we get anywhere”.

I screamed, “Any clinic in the airport?”

That was when their brains came back to default reset and they chorused, “Yes.”

I said to the good men still carrying him let go.

That was when we rushed him to the clinic you are seeing in the photo of this post.

Its the airport clinic that is close to the Arrivals of the Murtala Mohammmed airport, Lagos.

I explained everything I did and the medications given to the doctor on call.

She took over.

Then I walked out and looked up to heaven and said, “I know You are involved in this. Thank you Lord.”

I stayed on the case thereafter.

He survived.

And presently in a government tertiary hospital in Lagos for expert management.

I actually came to Lagos for a humanitarian programme, an aboslutely FREE Medical outreach, poorly funded, meant for the sick and abandoned Prison inmates.

We are all born to save lives.

Thank you.

Dr James King narrated his rescue mission in a Facebook post on May 25, 2019.


Opinion contributor
Opinion contributor
This opinion was received by Today News Africa in Washington, District of Columbia. The views expressed here are those of the writer(s) and not ours. You can send your own article to todaynewsafrica@gmail.com



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